Lazy Saturday Reads: Boston Olympics 2024??? Nooooooooooo!!!

icedcoffee

Good Morning!!

I’m feeling a bit loopy this morning. Ever since I heard that Boston is going to be competing to host the 2024 Olympics, I’ve been in a state of shock. What an insane idea. The Globe reported on Thursday,

The city was selected Thursday by the United States Olympic Committee to bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, beating out competing proposals from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
There will be best athletes all over the world who compete together and I also did some research on bodybuilding pills that they take every day. That’s insane how hard they are working.

“We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.

Nooooooooooooo! This can’t happen. Hasn’t anyone on the Olympic Committee ever been to Boston? How on earth did we beat out Los Angeles? Now that would be a good place for the Olympic Games. It’s huge, and spread out. Boston is a tightly packed place–with lots of narrow, winding streets–many of which were built before cars. Lots of people around here live in houses with no driveways. Parking is always at a premium–even in many suburban areas.

Boston’s bid was submitted to the USOC in December after previously being selected to a shortlist of U.S. candidate cities in June. The group pushing the idea, Boston2024, is backed by leaders from the region’s business, sports, and education sectors, among others.

“Boston is a global hub for education, health care, research and technology,” said Boston2024 chairman and Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish in a statement. “We are passionate about sports because we believe in the power of sport to transform our city and inspire the world’s youth. A Boston Games can be one of the most innovative, sustainable and exciting in history and will inspire the next generation of leaders here and around the world.”

Ugh. What total B.S! They are going to have a fight on their hands from plenty of cynical Bostonians who are quite aware that every place that hosts the Olympics ends up going deep into debt and being stuck with obsolete, eyesore structures that no one wants. Wealthy businessmen will profit and the taxpayers will pay the bills.

The USOC decided on Dec. 16 that it would bid for the 2024 Games, but held off on making a decision on which city to go with until Thursday’s meeting at Denver International Airport. “The decision followed a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting. Ultimately, the Boston bid received the unanimous endorsement of the USOC’s board of directors,” the USOC said.

The committee will now work with Boston2024 on the bid ahead of submitting it this fall to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will decide on a 2024 host city in 2017. Other potential host cities for 2024 include Rome, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, and Istanbul. Melbourne, Australia, and other cities have also been said to be interested.

Good. Hold the thing in one of those great cities and leave us in peace with our cold winters and our iced coffees. From the Globe, From Our Ice Cold Hands: Bostonians Still Drink Iced Coffee in Sub-Zero Temps.

Here in Boston, we pride ourselves on handling the cold. We’re ice warriors, hardened by endless winters during which we bundle up, hunker down, and thank our lucky stars that we thought to put long johns under our jeans as we charge head on into the frigid wind that sweeps across the T platform.

If we don’t bend to freezing temperatures, we certainly don’t break our habits just because it feels more like we’re the animated charcters in “Frozen” rather than humans. In other words, if your Dunkin’ order is an iced coffee, your Dunkin’ order is an iced coffee. It’s that simple.

And we salute you, soldiers of the cold. Getting an iced coffee when there’s a windchill of -10 is the coffee-order equivalent of raising your middle finger to the sky and yelling, “Come at me, winter!”

Bostonians are tough. We are cynical and sarcastic. We don’t suffer fools gladly. We take pride in our obnoxiousness. We’ll just see about this Olympics thing. Can you believe they want to turn the Boston Common into a beach volleyball field? Here’s what the abandoned Olympic beach volleyball venue looks like in Athens.

beach volleyball athens

 

Here are some views of the Boston Common.

boston-common

 

Boston common overhead

 

Need I say more? A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Some reactions to the utterly ridiculous proposal for a Boston Olympics:

Christian Science Monitor, Boston reacts with suspicion, snark to winning 2024 Olympic bid.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh tweeted Thursday night that it was an “exceptional honor” for the city to be chosen as the US candidate to host the Games. But many local residents aren’t exactly excited about their sun-dappled streets potentially being filled with Olympic tourists – which is how the Boston 2024 bid group depicted the city in its renderings of the Games.

Instead, many reactions around Boston have centered on the potential cost and overall chaos that the event could bring to the city, and whether all the preparations would really be worth it.

Those wary of the potential long-term cost of hosting the Olympics – including the group No Boston Olympics, which has loudly opposed the bid – have lots of data to back up their concerns.

The average cost of hosting a Summer Olympics is $15 billion, according to No Boston Olympics – roughly the cost of Boston’s infamous Big Dig highway project, which took some 16 years to complete.

No modern Olympic Games has come in under budget, and claims that the increased costs are offset by increased tourism revenue are shaky at best. Bostonians are also worried about spending millions of dollars to construct large stadiums that then go unused once the Games leave.

“If Boston hosts the 2024 Olympics, there’s no doubt that [the city] is going to be overrun with sports tourists,” said Victor Matheson, an economist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in an interview with The New York Times. “But Boston is already overrun with tourists in the summer.”

Christopher L. Gasper at The Globe, All that glitters about Boston’s Olympic bid isn’t gold.

Boston is a world-class city and sports mecca that doesn’t need a parade of nations showing up on its doorstep to validate its place on the world stage. We don’t need the five-ring circus coming to town to establish an international identity. Plus, Boston already hosts a world-renowned sporting event every year: the Boston Marathon.

The question is not whether Boston is capable of hosting the Olympics. It is. The question is whether it’s worth it. Does the benefit outweigh the potential logistical and financial pratfalls of hosting gym class for the world? Based on recent Olympic Games, the answer is probably not.

The Olympics rarely have a lasting, transformative impact on a city, unless you’re talking about the financial ramifications of the event and the planned obsolescence of venues with a 17-day lifespan. Barcelona, host of the 1992 Summer Games, was the exception, not the rule.

The Games are too big to succeed for most host cities. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and see what comes up.

I tried it. Check these out:

12 Forgotten Olympic Venues Fallen Into Disrepair (Popular Mechanics).

30 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Olympic Stadiums (Distractify).

Abandoned Olympic venues: in pictures (The Telegraph)

That is so sad. I don’t want a bunch of giant hulking wrecks strewn around Boston and environs, thank you very much.

For crying out loud, they don’t even have baseball in the Olympics. Boston is a baseball town. 

One more reaction from Obnoxious Boston Fan at The Globe, Ten Sports Just for the Boston 2024 Olympics. A couple of examples:

Parallel Parking. You can’t survive in Boston without it.

 

Red Sox Clicker Toss. The anger and frustration felt across Red Sox Nation each season translated on the world stage. Medals go to the furthest and fastest TV clicker thrown during a Red Sox loss televised on NESN. [The smart players wait for the Sullivan Tire commercials for extra incentive.] By 2024,Xander Bogaerts should be about on the verge of starting to break through and approaching the cusp of realizing his potential. We hope. If by some chance Henry Owens turns out to be half as good as we’ve been led to believe, he would have left via free agency by then.

 

Synchronized Road Rage. Anyone can flip off the guy in the Avalon who doesn’t know how to use his f–kin’ blinker. Can you do it in tandem, while heading over the Zakim Bridge, at night, in the rain?

 

Baseball. No bull, just baseball. The same baseball that’s been booted out of the Olympic Games. If there isn’t baseball during a Summer Olympics in Boston, that will be the real joke.

 

Cry me a river. Tossing Don Zimmer was just payback for 1978.

 

I’ve been completely, utterly provincial today. Probably no one will even read this post, but at least I got it off my chest. So what’s happening that’s newsworthy today? 


Tuesday Reads: A Little Bit of This and That

Cassidy, Arlene - Book of palmistry.png

Good Morning!!

 

Just because I feel like it, I’m going to avoid the depressing news today and give you a mixture of stories that interested me.

By now everyone knows about the 15- or 16-year-old boy who on Sunday flew from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 jet and survived.

It turns out he ran away from home after some kind of argument, climbed over a fence at San Jose Mineta International Airport, and hid in the wheel well of the first plane he saw. Authorities are trying to figure out how he evaded multiple layers of security and how he survived a trip that could have killed him.

From ABC News:

“He got very lucky that he got to go to Maui but he was not targeting Maui as a destination,” Simon said.

The boy is also lucky to be alive, given that wheel-well stowaways rarely surviving flight conditions. At 38,000 feet, the percentage of oxygen is a fraction of that at sea level, and the temperature ranges from minus-50 to minus-85 degrees….

The plane landed in Hawaii. About an hour later, at 10:20 a.m. Hawaii time, crews were startled by the teen coming out of the wheel well, Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz said.

“He was weak. He hung from the wheel valve and then he fell to the ground and regained some strength,” Moniz said.

 The Daily Mail has more:

He passed out in the air and didn’t regain consciousness until an hour after the plane landed in Hawaii, Simon said. When he came to, he climbed out of the wheel well and was immediately seen by airport personnel who escorted him inside where he was interviewed by the FBI, Simon said.

It was not immediately clear how the boy stayed alive in the unpressurized space, where temperatures at cruising altitude can fall well below zero and the air is too thin for humans to stay conscious. An FAA study of stowaways found that some survive by going into a hibernation-like state.

According to Simon, the boy doesn’t have any memories of the flight. Some experts are questioning whether the story is even true.

News of the incident was met with suspicion and scrutiny. Most wheel-well stowaways don’t survive, falling victim to frigid temperatures and lack of oxygen. The chances of survival of a wheel-well stowaway on a commercial aircraft are about 24 percent, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.

ABC News aviation consultant John Nance is skeptical that the teen could have survived the 2,300-mile flight in the wheel well without an oxygen source.

“I just don’t believe it,” Nance said.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, said in order to survive inside a wheel well during a flight, the body has to fall into a hibernation-like state, with the heart only beating a couple times a minute.

“It’s near impossible, almost miraculous, and maybe there’s more to the story,” Besser said.

Besides, how did this kid manage to evade security, including “multiple layers of security, including wide-ranging video surveillance, German shepherds and Segway-riding police officers?” Back to the Daily Mail:

San Jose International Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes says airport employees monitor security video feeds from throughout the 1,050-acre airport around the clock. However, she said no one noticed images of an unidentified person walking on the airport ramp and approaching Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 in the dark until security agents reviewed the footage after the plane had landed in Hawaii and the boy had been found.

The airport, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is surrounded by fences, although some sections do not have barbed wire and could easily be scaled.

The boy found his way onto the tarmac during the night, ‘under the cover of darkness,’ Barnes said.

Hours later, surveillance video at Kahului Airport showed the boy getting out of the wheel well after landing, according to a statement from Hawaii’s Department of Transportation.

The boy isn’t being charged with a crime, and will be returned to his parents, where he’ll have a quite a story to tell. I guess we’ll learn more in the next few days.

Meb

Yesterday’s Boston Marathon came off without a hitch, and an American won the men’s race for the first time in more than 30 years. The New York Daily News reports: American Meb Keflezighi wins Boston Marathon a year after bombing.

With the names of the murdered written on his runner’s bib, American Meb Keflezighi raced to victory Monday in the Boston Marathon, becoming a living symbol of resilience from the dark days of terror.

Keflezighi, 38, a member of the New York Athletic Club, said his triumph was fueled by a city that refused to buckle in the face of hate.

“It was not about me. It was about Boston Strong,” said Keflezighi, who broke down in tears as he became the first American in 31 years to win the race. “When the bomb exploded, every day since I’ve wanted to come back and win it.”

The Eritrea-born Keflezighi, who became an American citizen in 1998, crossed the finish line to chants of “U-S-A!” a mere 11 seconds in front of Kenya’s Wilson Chebet. He won the elite men’s race with a time of 2:08:37, a personal best and the second-fastest for an American man at Boston.

“When the Red Sox won (the World Series) and put the trophy right there,” he said, pointing to the Boylston St. finish line, “I wanted to win it for the people of Boston.”

Keflezighi came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 12 years old. He attended public schools in San Diego, where he first started running. He graduated from UCLA, where he won multiple championships and awards. He won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, and in 2009 he became the first American man to win the New York City Marathon since 1982.

In the women’s race, 2013 winner Rita Jeptoo won again, setting a course record of 2:18:57–also a personal best. Jeptoo is from Kenya.

I guess this next story is a little bit depressing, but it’s mostly ridiculous. From UPI: Majority of Americans doubt the Big Bang theory.

In a new national poll on America’s scientific acumen, more than half of respondents said they were “not too confident” or “not at all confident” that “the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang.”

The poll was conducted by GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications.

Scientists were apparently dismayed by this news, which arrives only a few weeks after astrophysicists located the first hard evidence of cosmic inflation.

But when compared to results from other science knowledge surveys, 51 percent isn’t too shameful — or surprising.

Other polls on America’s scientific beliefs have arrived at similar findings. The “Science and Engineering Indicators” survey — which the National Science Foundation has conducted every year since the early 1980s — has consistently found only about a third of Americans believe that “the universe began with a huge explosion.”

Okay, maybe the notion of a giant explosion setting the universe in motion is a little surprising. But it’s certainly more believable than the biblical explanation that a godly being created the universe in seven days by making pronouncements like “Let there be light!”

Now an example of what some people are willing to believe: Has the Loch Ness Monster been spotted on Apple Maps?

Members of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club claim they have studied an image seen on Apple’s global satellite map application that shows the allegedly 100-foot-long creature, CNet .com reports, citing London’s Daily Mail.  They say if you zoom in on Apple images from space you can even see the monster’s giant flippers.

News of the sighting has fans of Nessie — as she’s affectionately called — buzzing because there hasn’t been a Loch Ness sighting in 18 months.  Legend has it she’s been cruising the area of Loch, just south of Dores, Scotland, for some 90 years, but so far, there’s no definitive proof she exists.

Nessie’s fan club devotees say they have ruled out all other possibilities for the grainy image, including a floating log or a giant seal. But one skeptic, deep-sea biologist Andrew David Thaler, debunks the theory on his websiteSouthernFriedScience.com, saying that the image shows the wake of a boat.

I have a few more interesting science stories for you.

From National Geographic: The Tragic Story of How Einstein’s Brain Was Stolen and Wasn’t Even Special.

My headline may be a bit misleading. Albert Einstein, the Nobel prize-winning physicist who gave the world the theory of relativity, E = mc2, and the law of the photoelectric effect, obviously had a special brain. So special that when he died in Princeton Hospital, on April 17, 1955, the pathologist on call, Thomas Harvey, stole it.

Einstein didn’t want his brain or body to be studied; he didn’t want to be worshipped. “He had left behind specific instructions regarding his remains: cremate them, and scatter the ashes secretly in order to discourage idolaters,” writes Brian Burrell in his 2005 book, Postcards from the Brain Museum.

But Harvey took the brain anyway, without permission from Einstein or his family. “When the fact came to light a few days later, Harvey managed to solicit a reluctant and retroactive blessing from Einstein’s son, Hans Albert, with the now-familiar stipulation that any investigation would be conducted solely in the interest of science,” Burrell writes.

This story is so weird that there is no way I can do it justice with excerpts. You need to read the whole thing. Just to whet your appetite, I’ll tell you that Beat writer William Burroughs makes a cameo appearance. The comments are interesting too.

Part of a mastodon tooth

Part of a mastodon tooth

I just love this story; it’s the kind of thing I dreamed would happen to me when I was a kid: 9-year-old Michigan Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth near Home.

“I was walking down at the creek last summer. I felt something that I stepped on so I picked it up and everybody in the neighborhood thought it was pretty cool,” Philip Stoll told CNN on Friday….

“It felt weird,” he said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I had to see what it was. I pulled it out and brought it to my mom.”

Stoll…took the six-peaked, 8-inch foreign object to his Windsor Township house and washed it in his kitchen sink to get a better look. Mom Heidi Stoll was also brought in for consultation.

“I didn’t even think that it could have been a tooth until I started checking online for some kind of match,” she said. “We saw a picture of a Mastodon tooth and said ‘there it is.'”

The Stoll family eventually reached out to James Harding, a herpetologist – an expert on reptiles and amphibians, at nearby Michigan State, who confirmed their suspicions.

“This is indeed a mastodon tooth,” Professor Harding verified in an email, CNN reports. “Apparently (it is) the upper surface, broken off at the roots.”

Wow, that is one lucky kid! Philip told CNN he has dreamed of becoming a paleontologist when he grows up.

TRex

Did you hear about how the Smithsonian acquired a nearly-complete skeleton of a Tyranosaurus Rex and had it delivered from Montana by FedEx? From the Guardian: Rare T rex bones arrive at Smithsonian Museum after cross-country journey.

For the first time since its dinosaur hall opened in 1911, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will have a nearly complete T rex skeleton. FedEx delivered the dinosaur bones in a truck carrying 16 carefully packed crates.

The T rex, discovered in 1988 on federal land in Montana, is about 80-85% complete. It’s one of about half a dozen nearly complete T rex skeletons that have been uncovered. This specimen could become the most prominent with its new home in one of the world’s most-visited museums. About 7 million people visit the natural history museum each year, and it offers free admission.

Like the mastodon tooth that Philip Stoll found, this skeleton was discovered by amateurs.

Kathy Wankel, a Montana rancher who discovered the bones in 1998 during a camping trip, said she was proud to see the specimen in a national museum. Initially, Wankel spotted about 3 inches of bone sticking out of the ground, and she and her husband dug out a small arm bone.

“We were so thrilled we had found a bone; we called that a mega find,” she said at the museum. “But I think now this is a mega find.”

Paleontologists from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., excavated the fossil, and it’s been housed there for the past 25 years. At the Smithsonian, the skeleton will be mounted upright for the first time.

Those are my offbeat offerings for today. What stories have you been following? Please feel free to post real news in the comments.


Tuesday News Reads: Updates On Boston Marathon Bombings and Iran Earthquake

Morning All…

I will start this post with thoughts for those of you in Boston, who wake up this morning to a different city. I am sure the raw numbness is still with you….I know it will linger for some time. Boston Boomer covered the bombings yesterday, and she is probably exhausted and worn out. So I will just post some updates for you. Here is the cover of the Boston Globe this morning:

The Boston Globe 2013-04-16 07-44-20

NBC News:Boston on high alert after marathon bombing kills 3, injures scores – U.S. News

Huffington Post: Boston Explosion News: At Least 3 Dead, 140 Injured In Marathon Bombing (LIVE UPDATES)

Terror at Boston Marathon: 3 dead, 144 wounded – CNN.com

Authorities Search Apartment in Probe Into Deadly Boston Marathon Blasts- FoxNews

Boston explosions: three dead, no arrests, no claims of responsibility | World news | guardian.co.uk

LIVE UPDATES: Boston Marathon Bombing, Day 2 – ABC News

But this is not the only story breaking today. There has been a huge earthquake in Iran:

Iran Earthquake | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com

Reuters is reporting 40 deaths…

Strong Earthquake Is Felt Across Wide Area of Asia – NYTimes.com

Iran earthquake: LIVE UPDATES — RT News

Hundreds feared dead in 7.8 Iran earthquake, also felt in New Delhi, Gulf States — RT News

7.8 earthquake hits Iran, felt in New Delhi, Gulf States

It is going to be a loooong day…see you in the comment section below…treat this as an open thread and post anything you like.


Breaking . . . Two “Huge” Explosions Near Finish Line of Boston Marathon

This story is just breaking. Two “huge blasts” were hear just minutes ago near a sporting goods store in Copley Square Boston. The local new anchor sounded near tears, saying “We have a terrible situation here,” It sounds like there are serious injuries.

The explosions came shortly after the winners  crossed the finish line. Other runners are being re-routed.

Injuries reportedly include people with missing limbs, head injuries, and covered in blood.

People are being treated on-site at the medical center for the marathon and being sent to local hospitals. This is one of the biggest sports events of the year in Boston. The Red Sox also play on Patriots Day beginning at 11AM. There are massive numbers of people in Boston to watch. I never go out on this day, because even the towns around here have parades, etc.

The two explosions were consecutive, about 20 seconds apart in two disparate locations. One went off near the Marathon Sports store on Boylston Street and the other on Massachusetts Avenue a few blocks away.

AP Story:

BOSTON (AP) — Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers in the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.

Competitors and race organizers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.

“There are a lot of people down,” said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg. A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.

About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another thunderous explosion could be heard a few seconds later.

Runner Laura McLean of Toronto said she heard two explosions outside the medical tent.

“There are people who are really, really bloody,” McLean said. “They were pulling them into the medical tent.”

Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.

“I was expecting my husband any minute,” she said. “I don’t know what this building is … it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don’t know what it was. I just ducked.”